(ADPH) -- The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) assures the public that as of February 26 there are no known cases of the new coronavirus COVID-19 reported in Alabama. ADPH is a partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners in preparing Alabama communities for the spread of COVID-19.
Interim guidance has been sent to the state’s post-secondary schools, the State Department of Education, independent schools and businesses based on the most recent information. ADPH held a webinar to assist hospitals by providing screening guidance and other precautions for staff and the public.
The ADPH Center for Emergency Preparedness coordinates with multiple agencies and partners related to staff education and readiness.Should patients with COVID-19 disease require treatment, personnel taking care of such patients would be in hospital or medical settings. Most frontline hospitals are prepared, and staff are trained to do isolation and evaluation of persons with respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Hospitals are required to keep enough personal protective equipment to ensure that there is no transmission of infectious disease within their facilities for up to 72 hours, and hospitals are currently notified in advance that their facility is the hospital of choice for the person being monitored. Processes are in place for coordination of patient care and transportation.
While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, there are several types of common respiratory viruses circulating including common coronavirus types and influenza. Since current respiratory outbreaks could make it hard to identify an outbreak of this new coronavirus, the public is asked to get flu vaccine if they have not done so.
“The best way to avoid infection is what we already know is effective in reducing the risk of transmission,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary McIntyre said. “These are the everyday precautions to help stop the spread of germs, such as frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home if you have fever, taking flu antivirals if prescribed, and using appropriate equipment the right way every time.”
“Do 10 – Fight the Flu” describes the top 10 things to do to fight the flu and avoid infection that also apply to COVID-19. Recommendations are as follows:
2. Wash Your Hands
3. Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes
4. Stay Home With Fever
5. Stockpile Supplies
6. Clean and Disinfect
7. Know Your Office Emergency Plan
8. Learn Home Care
9. Call Your Doctor If Symptoms Get Worse
10. Stay Informed
ADPH has been receiving names and contact information from CDC of returning travelers from China for the past several weeks. All people being monitored for COVID-19 have been at either moderate or low risk and have practiced voluntary self-isolation. Monitoring has been completed on dozens of individuals with none testing positive.
More information is available by clicking “Coronavirus” on the home page of alabamapublichealth.gov/.